powered by centersite dot net
Child Development & Parenting:Adolescence (12-24)
Basic Information

group of teens

From parents' perspectives, adolescence could quite possibly be the most nerve-wracking developmental period in their children's lives. It is natural for parents to feel anxious when their teens learn to drive a car; begin to form romantic and sexual relationships; decide to get tattoos and body piercings; and flirt with danger by experimenting with alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Despite these perils, adolescence is also a period of great pride and satisfaction for parents as they begin to recognize that their years of hard work, commitment, and personal sacrifice have paid off. Their once dependent children gradually become independent and responsible adults. Along the way there are significant landmarks such as their teen getting a first job; choosing a career or trade; moving out to live on their own; and developing a rewarding social network.

The adolescent developmental period is a lengthy period of transition spanning the ages of 12-24 years. During adolescence a m...

Fast Facts: Learn! Fast!

What are the nutritional requirements in adolescence?

  • Despite the abundant supply of food in the United States, most adolescents do not receive adequate nutrition at a time when their bodies' growth and development is accelerating.
  • In general, adolescent diets include too much fat, sugar, caffeine, and sodium and not enough nutrient-dense foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables and calcium-rich foods such as dairy products.
  • Sedentary 12-year-old males need about 1800 calories each day. This peaks at 2600 calories around age 19-20 years old and then decreases to 2400 calories a day from ages 21 through 24 years.
  • Sedentary teen girls around the ages of 12-13 years need about 1600 calories per day, and their daily calorie requirement reaches the highest level around age 19 years at 2000 calories.
  • Not only do adolescents need to eat the right amount of food, but they also need to eat foods which contain the right type of nutrients, and in the right proportions.
  • There are four key methods parents can use to assist their youth to develop healthy eating habits: 1) provide nutritional information, 2) provide opportunities to practice making healthy choices,3) model healthy eating habits, and 4) ensure the availability of quick, convenient, nutrient-rich snacks.
  • Nutritional problems can still arise or worsen during adolescence including problems of overeating and/or consistently making poor food choices, resulting in obesity; developing problems with unhealthy and extremely restrictive dieting without meeting the minimum nutritional requirements necessary for healthy growth and development; and Diabetes.

For more information

What are the physical activity requirements in adolescence?

  • It is important for adolescents to develop habits that incorporate regular physical activity into their daily lives so that these habits are carried into adulthood.
  • It can be difficult for youth to get sufficient exercise due to the increased popularity of sedentary entertainment (television, video games, etc.) and a decrease in physical education opportunities at school.
  • Any physical activity that requires the body to move enables youth to reap the health benefits of exercise.
  • Many youth enjoy playing organized, competitive sports such as basketball, cheerleading, baseball, gymnastics, football, golf, tennis, soccer, lacrosse, track and field, etc.
  • Youth can also receive the benefits of exercise by participating in regular physical activity through informal and unstructured activities, such as gardening, shooting hoops in the driveway, dancing in their bedroom with their friends, riding bicycles around the neighborhood, skateboarding at the skate park, walking the dog after dinner, or hiking on a trail in the woods.
  • Parents need to be informed about the training methods used by their children's coaches and trainers, and ensure their teens take certain precautions to prevent sports-related injuries.
  • Youth should be spending at least one hour a day, most days of every week, engaged in some form of physical activity.
  • The best way parents can encourage their teens' participation in regular physical activity is by modeling this behavior themselves.
  • Parents can also help their children by assisting them to find physical activities that match their children's interests and talents.

For more information 

How important is sleep in adolescence?

  • Adolescents need an average 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep every night just to function.
  • Teens' bodies' natural sleep rhythms (called circadian rhythms) shift during adolescence causing them to remain alert and awake later in the night, with a corresponding desire to sleep later in the day.
  • Parents can help teens to identify and limit caffeinated beverages in the evening.
  • Teens should establish regular sleep and wake times that allow for an adequate amount of sleep each night.
  • Teens will also benefit from developing and maintaining a consistent bedtime routine.
  • Beyond bedtimes and bedtime routines, youth should learn to structure their time so that important activities do not detain them from getting to bed on time.
  • It is best to avoid strenuous exercise like running, aerobics, weight lifting, or playing basketball right before bed, as these types of activities will release hormones into the body that cause people to feel more awake and alert.
  • Anxiety and worry are great sleep disrupters and prevent youth from feeling sleepy.
  • Chronic sleep disturbance (sleeping too much or sleeping too little) can be a symptom of a more serious problem such a depressive disorder, or drug and alcohol use.

For more information

What topics might parents and adolescents disagree about or need to discuss?

For more information

What healthcare is important during adolescence?

  • Adolescents will need to learn to manage their own healthcare and should be developing a healthy lifestyle that will be maintained throughout their adult lives.
  • Parents will want to ensure their youth continue to receive routine, annual physical examinations.
  • Annual physicals are the perfect time to make sure that youth are caught up on their vaccinations.
  • It's also important that youth also receive routine dental and vision check-ups.
  • Annual physical exams should also be screening adolescents for behavioral health concerns such as depression; anxiety; or possible problems with tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.
  • Parents have an important role in identifying the early warning signs of a behavioral or emotional problem because they regularly observe their teens' behavioral and emotional patterns.
  • Parents should be on the look-out for possible warning signs that their child may be at risk for suicide.
  • All adolescents who are sexually active should get regularly tested for sexually transmitted infections including but not limited to HIV/AIDS, syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Hepatitis B.
  • They key to empowering youth to independently manage their own healthcare is to gradually give youth more and more control over their healthcare, while teaching them the skills they need for self-care.

For more information

What discipline, love and guidance is necessary during adolescence?

  • One of the difficulties of raising teenage children is achieving the right balance between love and discipline; liberties and limitations; and, independence and responsibility.
  • Parents should help children to become resilient, which means that they have the ability to "bounce back" or to readily recover from painful, stressful, and difficult experiences.
  • One thing parents can do to build resilience is to provide the proper amount of support and guidance.
  • When parents are overly protective to the point of being smothering, or provide too much direction without letting youth work out some problems on their own, they rob youth of the opportunity to develop and practice independent problem-solving skills.
  • Youth should have an understanding of what privileges are available to them for following the rules and meeting expectations, and what consequences will occur when they fail to follow the rules, or make poor choices.
  • Parents can begin to help adolescents develop time management skills by having high (but attainable) expectations for school achievement, household chores, and other important activities.
  • Family rules should also establish clear expectations about the responsibilities of family members toward each other.
  • If parents become aware of activities or rules at another child\'s home that they do not agree with, they should calmly discuss their concerns with the parents of the other child.
  • Parents need to express clear rules and expectations around teen substance use.
  • By late adolescence (18 years of age and older), parents need to set clear boundaries about any assistance they will (or won't) provide while their children are becoming independent adults.

For more information

How can parents protect an adolescent's health and safety?

  • Parents must be fully aware of the risks and dangers associated with tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs
  • While parents cannot completely prevent their children's eventual exposure to alcohol and other drugs, there are steps parents can take to reduce the potential risks.
  • Parents will want to ensure their youth learn to drive safely and always use good judgment when operating a motor vehicle.
  • There are several warning signs parents should pay attention to that could indicate that their adolescent may be a victim of dating violence.
  • If parents are concerned about their teens' involvement with fighting or gang activity, they can do several things.
  • Teens can encounter all types of violence online, including violent videos, hate messages on blogs and in chat rooms, and violent computer games. Youth who are curious about sex can find plenty of pornography on the Internet, some of which depicts sexual acts coupled with violence.
  • Bullying is the repeated abuse, hostility, aggression, manipulation, or violence between two youth where one youth possesses greater power than the other.
  • Parents can ensure their children's continued safety by providing education about making their new dorm, apartment, or home the safest it can be.
  • Youth also need to make sure they know how to protect themselves while they are traveling in public places.

For more information

Latest News
Later School Start Times Do Help Kids Feel Rested: Study
For Teens, Vaping Today May Lead to Smoking Tomorrow
Informed Football Refs Better at Spotting Suspected Concussions
Health Tip: Talk to Your Child About Sexting
Does 'Smartphone Addiction' Show Up in Teens' Brains?
Bullied Teens More Likely to Take Weapons to School
Self-Harm Cases Surging Among U.S. Girls
Fat Distribution May Influence Bone Strength in Adolescence
Teens' Painkiller Misuse Linked to Dating Violence
What It Takes to Get Teens Moving
Sport Sampling in Children Tied to More Exercise in Adolescence
Is Too Much Time Online Raising Suicide Risk in Teen Girls?
Lunchtime H2O May Be Key to Curbing Kids' Obesity
Hearing Loss Among U.S. Adolescents Is Not Increasing
Preventive Care for Adolescents Up Since ACA Implementation
Abusing Pot, Booze Lowers Teens' Chances for Success in Life
With Cigarettes Out of Favor, Many U.S. Teens Also Shun Pot
A Teen Mom's Stress May Harm Her Heart
Alcoholic Parent May Sow Seeds for Teen Dating Violence
Teen E-Cig Use May Lead to Regular Smoking
Hockey Study Suggests Injured Kids Sent Back on the Ice Too Soon
Decline in U.S. Teen Drug Abuse Means Less Crime, Violence
Adderall Misuse May Be Hidden Part of Teen Amphetamine Abuse
Keeping Your Driving Teen Focused on the Road
High-Nicotine E-Cigs May Be Gateway to Smoking for Teens
Smartphones, Tablets Sabotaging Teens' Sleep
State Laws Help Reduce Concussions in Youth Sports
Self-Harm on the Rise Among Teen Girls
1 in 5 Young Women Who Tan Indoors Get Addicted
Who's Most at Risk of Head Injury in Youth Football?
Nearly a Third of College Kids Think ADHD Meds Boost Grades
Pediatric Physicians Should Revisit Approaches to Marijuana
Homing In on Homework Help
Vitamin K-1 Intake Tied to Heart Structure, Function in Teens
Another Downside to College Boozing: Poorer Job Prospects
Too Little of This Vitamin Could Harm Young Hearts
Health Tip: Talking To Your Kids About Tattoos
Overuse Injuries Don't Impact Young Football Players
20 Percent of U.S. Teens May Have Had a Concussion
AAP Offers Guidance for Infectious Disease in Sports
Gun Violence in Movies a Trigger for Teens?
More Teen Dads?
Youth Football Ups Odds of Brain Problems in Adulthood
Girl Soccer Players Take More Chances After Concussions
Focus on Just One Sport Can Mean Stress for Girls
Are Today's Teens Putting the Brakes on Adulthood?
AAP Issues Clinical Report on Teen Tattoos, Piercings
Even Teens Can Suffer Organ Damage From High Blood Pressure
Surgery Can Be Trigger for Teen Opioid Abuse
Young Kids With Cellphones Face a Hidden Risk
Questions and Answers
Teen Drug Use: 2014 Monitoring The Future Survey Results
NPW 2017: Suicide and Substance Use in Young People
Are We Feeding Early Puberty
Is My High School Student Ready for College? (And Is My College Student Ready to Go Back?)
Letís talk about depression Ė focus on adolescents and young adults
The Flu Shot- Who Really Gets It
Child Development: Stepping Stones - Lesson 21: Adolescence: Biosocial Development
Child Development: Stepping Stones - Lesson 22: Adolescence: Cognitive Development
Child Development: Stepping Stones - Lesson 24: Adolescence: Summary
The Perils of Adolescence
What Are The Signs of Depression in Teens?
Tackling Concussions
Energy Drink Sparking More ER Visits
Children and Social Media: What Every Parent Should Know
The Impact of Changing Social Behaviors on Teen Drug Use
NAMI Ending the Silence - A mental health awareness program for teens
The Sound of Your Voice
Teen Substance Use
Youth Suicide Risk
Take Healthy Habits to College
What Boys Want to Know About Puberty
Am I Normal (Girls and Puberty)
Money Tips for Millennials
E-Cigarette Use in Middle and High School Students
Teens Using E-cigarettes More Likely to Start Smoking Tobacco
Tips For Teens With Diabetes: Be Active
Help Teens Lower Their Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
Adolescence: Preparing for Lifelong Health and Wellness
Back to School: A Good Night's Sleep
How to Talk to Teens: A Developmental Approach
Bedtime Wake Up Call
Game Change! Focus on Families - Engaging Young Adults and Their Families
Endocrine System
Behavioral Health on College Campuses
Notebook: Sexual Harassment
Flu Shots: Young Adults Need Immunity
Most Teens Need a Rest
Screen Time vs. Bedtime
Another Reason for Teens to Eat Their Vegetables
Dangers of E-Cigarettes
HPV Vaccine: A Pediatricianís Recommendation
Healthy Weight
Getting through to your teenager with ADHD
Back-to-School: A Time to Think about Health & Academics
Impact of Cyberbullying: Addressing the Needs of Children and Youth
Book Reviews
Basic Information
Adolescent Parenting IntroductionHealthy Teens: Food, Eating & Nutrition During AdolescenceHealthy Teens: Exercise and SportsHealthy Teens: SleepParenting Teens: Clothing Clashes, Housing Decisions, & Financial ManagementParenting Teens: Skincare, Cosmetics, Tattoos, & Piercings Caring for Teens: Healthcare for Teens and Young AdultsParenting Teens: Discipline, Love, Rules & ExpectationsA Parentís Guide to Protecting Teensí Health and SafetyAdolescent Parenting Summary & ConclusionAdolescent Parenting: References & ResourcesLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Child & Adolescent Development: Overview
Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses
Internet Addiction and Media Issues
Child Development & Parenting: Middle (8-11)
Child Development Theory: Adolescence (12-24)